I was reading the latest post over at teh n00b, and it got me thinking about my tires. More specifically, what do I do when it comes to flats?
As with most riding hazards, the best problem is the one you avoid. There are measures you can take before you ride to minimize your risk: don’t ride on cheap tires, maintain proper pressure and inspect the tires before you leave.
When you’re on the road it’s always good to be mindful of your surroundings, and the pavement is no exception – you should always have an eye on the road 10-15 feet (3-4 meters) ahead of you. I can’t count how many times I have narrowly avoided pieces of glass and other sharp debris that snuck up on me.
These preventive measures have kept me flat-free for a long time. I have had two flats in the last five years, and one of those was a slow leak that I noticed when the bike was still in my garage. I was also able to help other cyclists I encountered with their flats on the road.
Apparently, there is a bit of debate when it comes to inflating tires while out on the road. Should you use a CO2 cartridge or a frame pump? It breaks down like this – the weight weenies love the out-of-sight light weight of the cartridges, but they sacrifice it for a one-shot deal. If the inflation doesn’t work, you’re walking.
Frame pumps, on the other hand are always there. Yes, they do add a small amount of weight, but unless you’re paid to race your bike, it’s negligible. Chances are if you’re not paid to race your bike, the biggest weight penalty is the rider. I have a full frame pump fastened under my top tube, and I would be surprised if it weighed two pounds.
Is there really a question here, people? I guess there are always going to be race-facing pricks out there who can’t stand how a frame pump looks. I just can’t justify the risk of being stranded when there is a perfectly good solution out there.